What is a carrier oil? A carrier oil is that oil cold pressed from the fatty part of a vegetable plant, such as the seeds from olives. This oil is used to “carry” essential and other oils to the skin, hence the name carrier oil. Essential oils are very strong when undiluted and are easily evaporated at regular temperatures. A carrier oil will last longer than an essential because it is not as volatile and will take longer to evaporate.
Unlike essential oils, carrier oils do not have a concentrated aroma, though same may have a light smell. The carrier oil or base oil is used to dilute an essential oil and is applied to the skin, keeping the skin from becoming irritated and allowing the essential oil to be effective on the body. It is also used in aromatherapy, allowing the essential oils to be carried through the air without them evaporating quickly.
Which carrier oils are best to use? Carrier oils each have different therapeutic uses. The choice of a carrier oil will depend on the benefits you want. The most used carrier oils are fractionated coconut oil, sweet almond oil, sunflower oil and olive oil. These oils are considered the best for aromatherapy but it is not just limited to the oils mentioned before. Most any of the nut, seed and vegetable oils used in cooking may be used as a carrier oil.
For the best result in skin or aroma therapy, the carrier oils used should be as natural as possible. Natural meaning some of the oils found in a grocery store may be highly refined causing them to contain residues of petroleum and solvents. the more unprocessed or organic a cold pressed oil is, the better they are for aromatherapy. Also unprocessed oils are considered to be more rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals resulting in a healthier skin and body.
Which essential oils are best to dilute? Any oil is okay to dilute and will actually save money in the long run. Even still there are a number of essential oils that may cause sensitivity and should be diluted. Symptoms of sensitivity toward an essential oil is a mild itchy to severe rash. Sensitivity to an oil that is continually used without dilution may even lead to severe cases of an allergic reaction such as difficulty breathing and possibly anaphylactic shock.
Fortunately, most oils do not cause such reactions and those that do cause sensitivity are less likely to, when diluted. Some, but not all, of these oils that need to be diluted are black pepper, wintergreen, ginger and eucalyptus. When diluting with small amounts of essential oils it is best to measure by drops. It is recommended that a 2 percent dilution of an essential oil is the best guideline for mixing essential with carrier oils. That would mean for every teaspoon of carrier oil there should be two drops of essential oil.
In conclusion, a carrier oil is the oil cold pressed from the seed of a vegetable plant. It is what is used to dilute and carry an essential oil to the skin or through the air. The essential oil is volatile and will evaporate quicker without the use of a carrier oil. Nearly any type of cooking oil may be used as a carrier oil but it is recommended to use the more organic oils for better results.
The use of carrier oils will reduce the sensitivity of many essential oils, allowing them to be used for their desired benefits. Do you use carrier oils for skin and aromatherapy? Which essential oils do you use with a carrier oil?